Women Make History At The 2019 Toronto International Film Festival


Anytime that I read news about women’s achievements, the first thing I feel is happiness, then  pride, and then the motivation that there is still much to be done, and we are on the right path. When I read that 45% of the gala’s debuting films in the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) were directed by women — the highest percentage in 44 years, I couldn’t think of anything else besides the fact that; finally, women have the space to show their potential. Refinery29 writer, Kathleen Newman Bremang, explains that this is a big achievement in women’s representation in the film industry. I have always believed that gender stereotypes and inequality are the biggest killers of talent. There are so many girls who grow up believing certain stereotypes leading them to not follow their passions, which is a loss not only for them but also for society. 

This achievement at TIFF is not an isolated achievement. I believe that it is a very important catalyzer for the involvement of women in other fields where women are underrepresented. First of all, younger generations of women who are studying similar fields will see that it is possible to achieve the highest levels in themselves, even if they are women and society may say no. Secondly, it empowers women to feel like they have support and makes them more comfortable in asking for it from other women who have gone through the same path before them. In addition, it helps on a societal level because we start to reevaluate gender stereotypes. It educates people that men are not the only ones who are supposed to be directing films. It also proves men are not the only ones who can be leaders of the field. Another advantage of seeing such a high representation of women in TIFF is that it empowers and opens the doors for other underrepresented voices such as black and gay directors. Becky Burgum in Elle writes that movies shown at TIFF like, How to Build a Girl, Honey Boy and Harriet, gave us a picture that women can direct great movies which deserve global attention.

It is essential to analyze the language that they use and the time that the media dedicates to these achievements. The better these movies directed by women are covered and presented, the easier it will be for people to recognize these achievements and stop seeing them as surprising, and more as proof that there is so much potential among women. Sometimes we encounter a kind of language that says that many fields are “obligated” to include more women. This makes it sound like women are not there because of their talent, but because of a policy. This mentality must change and we, as a society, should understand that women are everywhere because of their talent and hard work. I strongly believe that the high representation of women in TIFF is an important step toward gender equality. Knowing that Kathlyn Bigelow is the only woman who won an Academy Award for the Best director should be a push for other women to work harder and achieve the highest success possible.